The Other Shoe


Syd walked along the promenade, pulling her jacket tighter.  Her mood was pensive, introspective, that chilly spring morning. The sky was a clear, brilliant blue. The wind blowing off the water was fresh and invigorating, but frigid.  She had reason to feel apprehensive.  Her stepsisters were on their way.

How silly she’d been when her father had remarried, so excited at the prospect of having sisters after being an only child her entire life. She’d imagined late nights, giggling in the dark, secrets and stories flying rapidly across their shared bedroom, movie marathons, building a sisterhood that would last a lifetime.

What actually happened was that her father’s new wife took one look at Syd and decided she was common, beneath her, and it didn’t take long for her daughters to adopt her view. They took pleasure in making her life miserable, with their daily name-calling and cruel pranks.  Syd’s most painful memory was the day she came home from school to find all of her clothes torn and damaged by bleach, including a special gown that had been left to her by her mother.

After her father died, she’d practically become their servant. All the chores – laundry, cooking, cleaning, gardening, fell on her shoulders. It was clear, Mina and Piper were on one side, she on the other.

She had a new life now, attending college on scholarship, dating a great guy, one that Mina and Piper had also both been interested in, at their mother’s insistence, due to his pedigree. When Syd and William started dating after she moved to the dorms, her stepsisters had started ignoring her completely. Syd hated to admit it, but she’d enjoyed the peace.  What could they possibly want now?

They were approaching her, steaming cups of coffee in their hands, their pale cheeks flushed red from the cold, wisps of their identical red hair blowing in their faces. She’d heard their mother had moved away, marrying another wealthy man after squandering Syd’s father’s fortune, calling her daughters disappointments after they’d failed to follow in her footsteps. They were on their own, working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Had their new life humbled them?

As they spoke, Syd had her guard up, though they both apologized for how they’d treated her, tears pooling in their wide green eyes. She was still waiting for the other shoe to drop, though neither had asked for anything except penance. Something flashed in her mind.  Her father before he died. His daughter’s treatment was not lost on him, though for most of his second marriage he’d been too weak with illness to do anything about it. They’re your only family now, he’d said. Find a way to be happy.

Though Syd was still skeptical, she reached for her sisters and embraced them both, deciding, for now, to forgive.

For the Story a Day prompt – Rewrite a fairy tale


12 thoughts on “The Other Shoe

  1. You did a great job rewriting the Cinderella fairytale. Honestly, this could easily happen with so much divorce these days. The ending was nice Syd, went away to collage, met her prince, and ended up forgiving her step sisters who had to learn how to make their own way in life after being ditched by their mother. I can’t help but think it’s a good thing for Syd’s stepsisters. Syd can help them adapt.

    1. Thanks! Yes, I could easily see a situation like this develop. The stepsisters are basically just a pair of bullies. Who hasn’t had to deal with that at some time or another? And I agree, the girls need to learn how to be on their own.

  2. Thank goodness this ended this way. Women forgiving each other and carrying on in life and accepting each other, I swear I would’ve gone nuts if this had been centered around some stupid unworthy guy who gets infatuated to marry miss Cinderella at first glance like the misogynist d-bag that he had been in the Disney version…
    This was so so much better and so much more beautiful. I wish fairy tales were centered more around women accepting and forgiving each other than tearing each other down for the sake of some non existent Prince Charming…

    1. Thanks, and I agree. In this story the prince is just an afterthought, it’s more about the relationships between the women. The stepsisters are really just victims of their mother.

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